London’s Mayor has done his best today to ‘warn off’ Obama from intervening in the EU referendum by expressing the clear preference of the US for the UK to remain a member. I’m not sure how good an idea it is for Cameron to be orchestrating such support for his position from his friends abroad. Personally, I suspect that it is likely to be counter-productive on the whole.
Whatever, as part of his comments, Johnson came out with this gem: "There is no country in the world that defends its own sovereignty with such hysterical vigilance as the United States of America. This is a nation born from its glorious refusal to accept overseas control."
It’s a very poor comparison with the question of EU membership of course – the UK gets more of a say in the affairs of the EU than it ever wanted to allow the citizens of the US. Political rhetoric only needs to sound good, though.
But it also reminded me of this piece on Wings Over Scotland last week, drawing attention to the arguments of those who opposed independence for the US, on the grounds that they couldn’t afford it. However, the ‘refusal to accept overseas control’ proved stronger than that. And for a poor and hopelessly dependent economy, things didn’t turn out so badly in the end.
On the other hand, if they’d had to wait until they could produce a budget showing that they really could be self-sufficient – the bar set by many for Wales and Scotland – they’d probably still be waiting. And no doubt the opponents of American independence would now be pointing to the latest figures claiming that there was a $544 billion black hole in the plans of those demanding independence, just like they’re doing in the case of Scotland at present.The point? Simply that the willingness to accept responsibility is the important factor. Our future is ultimately what we make it.